Heating Soil with Hot Air Improves Early Yield and Quality of Greenhouse Tomatoes

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Forestry and Horticulture, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, POB 1106 New Haven, CT 06504.
  • 2 Malerba's Farm, 634 New London Turnpike, Norwich, CT 06360.

The soil within a greenhouse was heated by blowing hot air from a forced-air heater through drainage pipes buried beneath raised beds. This warmed the soil from 50F (10C) to 68F (20C) after 1 week of heating in mid-March. Soil in unheated beds did not warm to this temperature until May. The yield of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) planted in heated beds was higher than in unheated beds by 16% over the season in 1992, and by 14% as of early July 1993. The weight fraction of highest-quality fruit also were 11% greater in 1993. This simple method of soil heating involved negligible additional expense

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